Dreaming in Prison: Indigenous Survival in Colonial Australia

At a time when there is a serious threat that remote indigenous communities could be shut down, at a time where there is a controversial “deal” to end native title, at a time of catastrophic rates of youth suicide, and at a time when young Aboriginal men are incarcerated at a rate four times greater than black South Africans at the height of apartheid, it may seem quixotic to focus on the plight of one small Aboriginal corporation in Western Australia. However, the situation faced by Robert and Selina Eggington of the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation encapsulates the degrading situation faced by Australia’s First Nation people. Continue reading

This Picture’s Not Funny: French Far-Right Official Sparks Mob Violence Against Journalists

Where the hell are all the #jesuischarlies?

Following the attacks against the cartoonists and journalists at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, the English-language media fell all over itself to show support for the magazine. The New York Times published a column describing the attack as “an assault on French identity.” The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily BeastUSA Today, and many others all republished a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad to show their support for the magazine. Nearly 4 million people gathered in a giant Paris “unity rally” to condemn the attack. Charlie Hebdo and its anti-Muslim cartoons are still in the news four months later as the magazine was awarded the prestigious PEN Freedom of Speech award this year, despite strong objections from PEN members. Continue reading

Cutting The Crap On The Minimum Wage Issue

The issue of the minimum wage has been a hot topic in recent years. The Obama administration wants to increase the US minimum wage from its current rather stingy $7.25 to a modestly more reasonable $10.10, though there is currently a “Fight for 15” movement to increase the wage for fast food workers to $15. Last year, Germany set their first ever minimum wage at €8.50. In some parts of the world, a “Living Wage” movement in which exemplary employers pay a “living wage” to employees well above the minimum wage is beginning to gain traction. Meanwhile, in my home country of Australia, where we enjoy some of the highest minimum wages in the world, the so-called “Productivity Commission” is set to undertake a review of the relevance and impacts of the minimum wage, probably with the aim of reducing it, though whether that will have sufficient political support is another matter. Continue reading

The Intergenerational Report On ‘House Of Cards’

Following the launch in Australia of Netflix, ImportantCool associates Kenny Laurie and Austin Gerassimos Mackell, and IC Padawan Jeff Hewitt, decided to release the findings of their intergenerational report on House of Cards, so-called because: (A) IT’S TAKEN NEARLY A GENERATION FOR US TO PRODUCE IT and (B) it includes a comparison with the first generation of House of Cards as a TV series: the BBC’s version beginning in 1990 starring Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart – a character only superficially transformed into Kevin Spacey’s Frank (actually Francis, too) Underwood. Continue reading